A couple of weeks ago, Kat told you about her yarn called Superior; where it comes from, what it’s made of and how it came to be. You can read the full blog post here. To give you just a quick recap of the features that will be covered in this post, Superior is a Sport-weight Merino yarn.
Superior is definitely one of my go-to yarns when I am thinking about a new project. It’s amazing softness and versatility makes it perfect for a range of projects, from mittens to sweaters.
Let's talk about Yarn Weights
By yarn weight, I mean Fingering, DK, Worsted, etc. or those little yarn ball symbols with the numbers in them. My rough guide is Fingering; 8 - 10 stitches per inch, Sport; 6 - 8 stitches per inch, DK; 5 - 6 stitches per inch, Worsted; 4 - 5 stitches per inch and Bulky 3- 4 stitches per inch. (You can find more detailed and varied guidelines in other places.)
After my decades of knitting, I have the ability to pick up a yarn and immediately know the gauge that I am going to like best for that yarn. I don’t pay much attention to what the yarn label says the yarn weight is.
Superior is a perfect example of this. As soon as I picked it up I knew that I would like it much more at a DK gauge (5 - 6 stitches per inch) than a Sport gauge (6 - 7 stitches per inch). That is not to say that it is mislabeled. It knits up perfectly well at a Sport gauge; I just like it better, for a sweater at least, at a bigger gauge. That’s what I mean by the versatility of this yarn that I spoke about earlier. Let me show you.
Code Breaker, and its sister sweater, Morse Code, knits up at 20 stitches over 4 inches or 5 stitches per inch. If you look at my back at my broad system, that is a gauge of DK or even Worsted yarn weights. And yet, Superior at this gauge is beautiful. The fabric is soft and light and makes a perfect sweater for indoor wear.
In contrast, I used Superior to knit up a set of White Cap Mitts at a gauge of 24 stitches over 4 inches or 6 stitches per inch, a much smaller gauge. Though still quite soft, this fabric is much more dense. This leads to less air getting through that fabric and makes it perfect for mitts. I absolutely love them and they are quickly becoming my palate cleansing project. I knit one up quickly for some instant gratification in between big projects. Soon, I’ll have many color combinations, which is great since my office is the coldest room in the house.
So what does all this mean and why am I wasting your time with it? I want you to see that the yarn label is meant as a GUIDE rather than a hard and fast rule; it’s a place to start, but you don’t have to be bound by it. So, do what YOU like. Try taking some of your leftovers and knitting up a swatch on different size needles; See what you think of the different gauges. It can open up new possibilities of yarn choices for your next project.